Young unemployed accuse private companies of being sexist By: Shatha Al-Harazi
SANA’A, Apr. 13 — In Yemen, many young people who are unemployed hold women responsible for their predicament. Some accuse women of having a monopoly on jobs because company managers prefer to hire females rather than males.
Sarmad Hada, a 21-year old who works for a public relations company, thinks that women can find jobs more easily than men, even when the man is sufficiently qualified.
Lamess Shamsan believes that it’s a worldwide problem for women to be hired over men, as men have more needs and a greater responsibility to care for their families. Women, however, ask for lower salaries and are therefore more desirable to companies.
On the other hand, Somaya Noman and Randa Hussein believe that women are generally more qualified and loyal to their companies.
“Women also don’t waste time like men, who go to chew qat. That makes them more qualified. They make their work a priority,” said Hussein.
Ismail Sheikh thinks that there are many reasons for consistently hiring women. One of those reasons is that in a conservative society like Yemen’s where women have typically not participated much in life beyond the home – and where women have generally been seen as not having the same productive capacity as men – women are all the more keen to shatter gender stereotypes, usually by giving 110 percent of their efforts for half the salary demanded by men.
According to Sheikh, the second reason why women make for good employees is because unlike men, they take good physical care of themselves, which clients find appealing.
Fras Shamsan, a reporter for pro-government television channel Al-Aqiq, said that the only reason one should hire a woman is for her “physical qualifications” and her sweet voice.
Amal Ali Saleh disagrees with Shamsan, saying that so-called “physical qualifications” are one of the requirements for any good employee and that men should be obliged to take care of their appearance as well. Saleh said that there is no justification for men blaming employed women for their own poor success when men themselves are not working to cultivate their business skills.
Adnan Al-Rajihi, who graduated in 2009 and has not yet been able to find a job, said that some managers only “claim” to hire women so as to encourage gender equality. This, according to Al-Rajihi, is an example of sexism against men.
Unemployment in Yemen is reported to be over 60 percent among youth aged between 35 and 40 years. According to Mal press, an economic website, the majority of this percentage is made up of qualified university graduates. 25 percent alone are technical school graduates.
About 194,000 unemployed youth are registered at the Civil Services Ministry, in the hopes of receiving a job when the government needs them. President Saleh recently promised youth that he would generate 60,000 new jobs within the year. Economic analysts have said that the country’s budget cannot guarantee such a commitment